One of the best field guides to dead folk

Stairway to Heaven: The Final Resting Places of Rock's LegendsStairway to Heaven: The Final Resting Places of Rock’s Legends by J.D. Reed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet another beautifully illustrated collection of photos of famous people’s graves, this one focuses on predominantly American musicians of the late 20th century. Special attention is paid to the tokens visitors leave on their pilgrimages: guitar picks, empty liquor bottles, unsmoked cigarettes. I was pretty thoroughly fascinated.

As with any collection of grave monuments, one could quibble with the inclusions: John Belushi as a legend of rock? At least the story of his funeral and three graves is interesting. Was Easy E a rock star? Minnie Ripperton? Karen Carpenter?

I suspect that the problem with filling the book was that so many musicians’ families — aware of the ongoing problems at Morrison’s grave in Paris — have opted not to release their loved ones’ ashes and/or to announce a gravesite where fans could pay their respects. Beatles’ fans have Strawberry Fields in Central Park, but there’s some question about whether Yoko had John’s remains buried or scattered at all. The same holds true for Kurt Cobain: I’ve read elsewhere that fans go to a bench in a park near the house where he died to remember him, but that isn’t mentioned in this book at all. Is the story true, but just not widely known?

If you’re interested in mortuary commemoration or people’s relationships with cemeteries — or, I’ll include grudgingly, musicians of the past — this book is for you.

I got my copy from Amazon: Stairway to Heaven: The Final Resting Places of Rock’s Legends

View all my reviews

About Loren Rhoads

I am the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, co-author of the novel As Above, So Below, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. Scribner published my favorite essays from Morbid Curiosity magazine as Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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2 Responses to One of the best field guides to dead folk

  1. Pingback: Cemetery of the Week #49: The Jimi Hendrix Monument | Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World

  2. Pingback: Cemetery of the Week #10: Père Lachaise Cemetery | Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World

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